Tag Archives: wisdom as foolishness

‘Except the Lord Build the House…’

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In the course of my work for The Chalcedon Foundation, I’m reading a book about income inequality, the resulting lack of social mobility, and what to do about it. I can see that a great deal of hard work and research went into the writing of this book; and I can also see that what drives it is 100% pure worldly wisdom, devoid of any reference to God and showing no attempt at all to know His will.

Psalm 127 springs immediately to mind: Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it (v. 1).

This is one of the most profound verses in the Bible; and so, naturally, it’s also among the most ignored.

I plead guilty. When I sit down to work on one of my novels, I always pray for God’s guidance before I write a word. Well and good. But then I don’t even think of doing the same whenever I prepare to write a blog post or a column, to say nothing of more mundane tasks. It may be that it’s not really necessary to ask God for His guidance when I  wash the supper dishes–but what could it hurt? Meanwhile, it came to me today that I really ought to ask Him for His help in all my writing, not just the books: so I will do that, because I hope that all my writing is in His service. Even when I’m writing something just to get a laugh, because God blesses wholesome laughter.

We have been collecting and applying worldly wisdom all the time. We invent all sorts of jimcracks and procedures, and then never find the best way to use them. We heap up knowledge, yet grow no wiser. And so we in general, and the author I’m reading in particular, will not only fail to come up with the definitive answer to the problem we’re addressing, but we won’t even understand the nature of the problem–even if we think we do.

Wisdom sought apart from God will only take us so far, and never to where we need to go. For all our inventions, for all our worldly wisdom, the smartest people in the world just can’t get done any of those things they say they’re trying to do. And to make matters worse, a great deal of this wisdom is only foolishness. I think that explains, entirely, the condition of our universities.

There are an awful lot of houses getting built without the Lord’s advice–and an awful lot of houses falling down.

Everywhere you look.


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